WORTHINGTON — The Worthington community is now home to a new way to get in shape: an outdoor Fitness Court, an initiative of the National Fitness Campaign.
Minnesota West Community & Technical College hosts the site, but it's free for anyone. The Fitness Court is located between the administration building and the health and wellness center, visible from the parking lot.
"This is a good thing for the community," said Jeff Rotert, executive director of Worthington Regional Healthcare Foundation, which gave a $10,000 grant toward the Fitness Court.
The project was also made possible with help from the city of Worthington.
Law enforcement instructor Mike Cumiskey was instrumental in bringing the Fitness Court to Worthington. The law enforcement department used to have an obstacle course, but with that retired, students needed another way to bring their fitness up to standard. When he discovered that the National Fitness Campaign had created the Fitness Court, Cumiskey thought it would be a good option to replace the obstacle course.
Cumiskey became the lead organizer in working with the National Fitness Campaign and seeking grant funds to finance the construction and installation of the Fitness Court.
He intends to incorporate the Fitness Court into the law enforcement physical fitness course he teaches.
The court comprises a full-body circuit workout using one's own body weight as resistance. It covers seven different movements: core, squat, push, pull, agility, lunge and bend. Diagram instructions are printed on the wall of the Fitness Court, and a QR code is available to scan that will take a person to the free Fitness Court app, with videos on how to use each station.
It's designed to work for all ages and fitness levels, with different difficulties built into each station. The app includes workout plans to help folks get started and increase their resistance as they get stronger.
"I encourage the public to come out and use it," Cumiskey said. "The thing about community college is we want the community to come."
He hopes that with the Worthington Area YMCA right next door and several District 518 schools within walking distance, both adults and kids will feel free to try out the Fitness Court.
There is not yet a concrete path to the Fitness Court, but Cumiskey said that will be coming soon, to ensure that everyone can access it. For now, the public may walk through the grass.
The next step toward bringing people to the Fitness Court is to train ambassadors, Cumiskey explained. Ambassadors may be public figures or community members. They'll learn how to get the most out of the Fitness Court and then teach classes and clinics at the court and issue fitness challenges to the community.
In the meantime, Cumiskey offered to meet personally with community members and teach them how to use the Fitness Court, for those who would benefit from in-person instruction. He can be reached at Minnesota West at (507) 372-3469 or email@example.com.
Watch the National Fitness Campaign's 2-minute introduction to the Fitness Court: